When walk-in care is also lifesaving: “She singlehandedly saved my life”

June 27, 2022 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Heroes

Lauren Day was feeling a bit run down, like she had a cold.

There was some pain and tightness in her chest, and she felt like she couldn’t take a full, deep breath. She also had some pain in her left shoulder, which she thought was sore from a recent workout.

“My energy was so low. I remember waking up that morning and I couldn’t even take care of the kids,” says Day, 36, of Elmhurst, mom to 5-year-old Cameron and 1-year-old Dominick. “I thought I’d need an antibiotic.

“I was waiting it out to see if it would go away, but it just got worse,” says Day. “I woke up the night before and couldn’t sleep for a couple hours because the pain was so bad. I tried ibuprofen and it didn’t do anything. I couldn’t sleep, I felt awful. I decided I needed to see a doctor.”

When she learned her primary care physician had no appointments available for at least a month, Day said she headed to an Edward-Elmhurst Health Immediate Care Center where Casey Henry, APN, treated her.

Mysterious symptoms

After a COVID-19 test came back negative and a chest X-ray was normal, Henry said she wanted to do a test for blood clots.

“Blood clots were definitely on my radar because she was on birth control, which puts you at added risk for pulmonary emboli,” says Henry. “However, she was young and healthy with no personal or family history of blood clots or clotting disorders. Based on that and her overall wellness, I didn’t think this would be her end diagnosis.”

But the blood test for blood clots came back positive. Henry sent Day to another Edward-Elmhurst Health location for a CT scan of her lungs.

After the scan, as she sat in the waiting room, Day received a phone call from Henry.

“She said, ‘They found a bunch of blood clots in your lungs. Thank God you came in,’” Day said. “I was like, ‘What?’ I didn’t even know what to think. She said, ‘You need to go to the emergency room.’”

Emergency treatment

Day was diagnosed with multiple pulmonary emboli in her lungs, which can cause shortness of breath, chest pain, tachycardia and can be fatal if not diagnosed and anticoagulated with blood thinners, Henry says.

“I hated telling her the results of her CT scan because I knew she had children, a family, and was worried something was really wrong,” Henry says.
Day’s mom drove her to Elmhurst Hospital and her husband, Ryan, met her there. Emergency room caregivers started Day on intravenous blood thinner medication and, once admitted, Destanie Lemon, RN, cared for her.

“Destanie explained what was going on in a non-clinical way, as an equal,” Day says. “She made it so much more tolerable to go through that. She was super attentive if I pushed the button, or my drip was out and it was beeping. I didn’t feel like I was bothering her.”

Day stayed in the hospital for two days, on the blood thinner drip for about a day and a half before she transitioned to blood thinning medication she’ll take for six months. Her caregivers suspect hormonal birth control was the cause of the clots.

Day said Henry “singlehandedly saved my life.”

“Her bedside manner was just so real and authentic. She didn’t just do the bare minimum. If she didn’t do that workup at the Immediate Care Center, I would not be here,” Day says. “She exemplifies why people go into this profession. Her care was phenomenal.”

When convenience and expertise matter most, Edward-Elmhurst Health offers same-day walk-in care for your minor to moderate illnesses and injuries. Open seven days a week, no appointment needed. Learn more about walk-in care for life’s unexpected urgencies.

Edward-Elmhurst Health Emergency Departments located in Elmhurst and Naperville, and a freestanding emergency center in Plainfield, combine modern technology with comfort and care. Learn more about emergency care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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